Fri. Mar 24th, 2023
Product Placement comes to Mario Kart 8 with free Japanese Mercedes DLC

A new, slightly more realistic vehicle option, such as the airship-themed “Landship” and shoe-shaped “Sneeker” in the Japanese version of Mario kart 8. Mario and company can drive a kart version of the Mercedes GLA this summer by obtaining a piece of free downloadable content, as revealed by Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu.

The DLC is part of a wider Japanese marketing campaign between Mercedes and Nintendo, which includes a bizarre TV commercial featuring Mario driving a pixelated Mercedes through the iconic World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. The ad also features a live-action, dirt-stained, bulbous-nosed, muscular Mario that’s sure to haunt our nightmares for weeks to come.

The classic Mario motif continues through a promotional website for the car, which even features the familiar Super Mario Bros. theme. Famitsu also reports that it is a special Mercedes theme Mario kart 8 tournament will take place in Japan this fall.

Nintendo has yet to confirm whether the marketing partnership and DLC will come to other markets, but a Nintendo UK representative told Eurogamer “we will be able to announce in the near future.”

Product placement is not an entirely new phenomenon in Nintendo-made games. Picmin 2 featured branded collectibles ranging from Chap Stick and Duracell batteries to Skippy peanut butter, and the Golf racing series with jet skis from the Kawasaki brand. More overt product placement is practically a cherished gaming industry tradition, from the extremely rare Purina-sponsored Chase the Chuck Wagon on the Atari VCS to the trio of Burger King-themed Xbox 360 games distributed through the burger chain.

In January, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata pledged to “actively expand our character licensing business” as part of a broad diversion for the company.

By akfire1

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